3 days in London

Who I am
Lluis Enric Mayans

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Author and references

For the 5? once I land on English soil, the second time with my favorite travel companion.
As before, we choose to take a Ryanair flight from Orio to Stansted, the most? cheap and fast, leaving early Friday morning? to return on Sunday evening, the pi? late as possible.
No sooner said than done.

1 day

Friday? 17.01.2020
At 3.45 in the morning Dario picks me up from the house with his mother's powerful Fiat 600. We booked a parking near the airport with free shuttle (Travel Parking), so? not to have to ask anyone to have to run around in the middle of the night from one province to another.
Strangely, as it rarely happens (especially to Dario) we arrive on time and, after paying 24 Euro for the covered car deposit for 2 nights, at 4.30 we hand over the keys and get on the van with which the parking attendants take us. at the departures of the airport.
At that time there aren't many people, aren't there? queue to access the metal detector, then in a few minutes we pass the controls and wait for the time necessary for boarding.
The flight also proceeds regularly, so much so that at 7.30 local time, after just under 2 hours of flight, we put our feet on the queen's ground.

To get to central London from Stansted airport, there are several possibilities, all of which can be easily booked in advance from home, or by buying tickets directly at the airport.
Two years ago, on our previous trip to England, we had opted for a cheap coach (Terravision? 9? Each way) which, while comfortable and comfortable, took about 2 hours to reach Victoria Station.
Being, this time, on the other side of the city? and having both started working, we allowed ourselves the luxury of booking StanstedExpress train tickets to Liverpool Street, a stone's throw from our hotel (about 55 euros for an open return ticket for 2 people).
Indeed, the journey, although less comfortable as there are many people and limited and unnumbered seats, is very fast: in less than 1 hour we are at the huge Liverpool Street station where, first of all, we withdraw some cash (uselessly?) And top up the cards. Oyster, which I had from a previous trip, is very useful for traveling at a limited cost on city transport.
Our hotel (IBIS Shoreditch? About 250 euros for 2 nights + breakfast) is located in front of the? Aldgate East Underground, in a modern and central area.
The check-in ? expected from 12 but, as they had already? said by email, sometimes the rooms are ready earlier and, if like us you arrive early in the city? You can leave your luggage in a secure room so you don't have to carry it around.
Fortunately our room? one of those already? ready, cos? around 9.00 we enter the room, leave the luggage, prepare the backpack and leave.

Contrary to other times, I don't have a route to follow n? a schedule of places to see. We then decide to move towards the Tower of London on foot, being a little more distant? of one kilometer.
As soon as you leave the Hotel, Dario has a coffee to go, in classic cardboard glasses to drink while walking. Extraordinarily the coffee? not ? evil and talking to the bartender we begin to understand that the Italians in London are as numerous as ants.
After about 15 minutes we arrive at the Tower of London, from the opposite position to the one I have been used to on my other visits to the city. From the road from which we arrive we also have easy access to Tower Bridge, which we then decide to cross, regardless of the icy wind that has started to blow in the meantime.
We take the opportunity to take some pictures, but soon the cold is felt, so? we decide to set out at the pi? nearby metro to take us to the restaurant. Gi? from the night before we had booked a table at an Indian food place recommended by our guidebook (pocket Lonely Planet) and by all the reviews: Dishwood. Once seated at the table, a very nice girl explains to us, in English, how does the menu work? and the portions generally recommended, and then we decide to take some basmati rice, some vegetable samosas? I ? and lamb meat? Dario -, and some chicken curry.
As much as I appreciate spicy food, especially Indian, I admit that I couldn't finish my courses: they were very good but my lips were starting to tingle!

Before continuing our tour we decide to pass by the hotel to rest a few minutes and add a layer to our clothing: I replace the shirt with a sweater, to which I add a sweatshirt and my mountain jacket with attached fleece.
Ready for the freezing cold we then move to Piccadilly. At 16.00 the sun is already down setting, cos? the lights of a thousand shops and screens begin to show themselves.
I got off at the Oxford Circus stop, we walk along Regent Street, looking at the windows of the countless shops. or less expensive, up to the famous square full of people.
Dario takes the opportunity to video call home and show that show of lights, people, traffic, shouting and music of street artists, which already? last time they had enchanted her.
At around 19 pm, after an obligatory stop in a Pinarello bike shop, the shops begin to close and we walk towards the Undergound to return to the hotel, where we take a shower, rest for a few minutes and manage for dinner.

For dinner I was planning to take Dario to a nice restaurant off the London Eye. We go down to Embankment, cross the bridge on foot and enjoy the light show of the big wheel and the buildings on the Thames.
The cold, though? ? really stinging and fatigue begins to be felt, cos? as soon as we find a restaurant that seems good for dinner, we enter.
The Fellini? a place to have a drink or to eat, and? at the entrance to a cinema, which remains hidden in the back. It is described as an Italian restaurant, how? the waitress who welcomes us is Italian. Hopefully we opt for a pizza and a cocacola, which arrive in a very short time after being prepared in an open kitchen. The ingredients above the pizza are undoubtedly fresh, but overall the dish is mediocre. There are good pizzas in London, but for this time sleep and cold have prevailed over research. Sar? for the next time!
Finally, cooked, we go back to the hotel where, in a few minutes, we fall asleep.

2 day

Saturday 18.01.2020
Saturday morning we wake up early, around 8.30, just in time to wash, get dressed and go down for breakfast.
We find two tables full of food waiting for us, in the typical English Breakfast style: sweet foods (muffins, brioches, bread to be toasted with jam or Nutella?) Next to the more? various salty foods (eggs, sausage, bacon, beans, meats and cheeses).
We limit ourselves to a cappuccino, a glass of juice and some sweets.
After breakfast, packed and covered in anticipation of the freezing cold, we take the metro to St. James Park, walk it under a sunny sky to Buckingham Palace (the changing of the guard in winter c ?? a day s? and one no, and it starts around 10.45 in the morning) and from there we continue to Hide Park. In the middle? of the large flowered and well-kept park the legs begin to ache and hunger to be felt. We turn then towards the metro pi? nearby and we go to eat in a convenient fast food restaurant that, for a few pounds, refreshes us and allows us to warm up for a while.
In the afternoon we decide to move freely around the city: we resume the underground up to Tottenham Court Road (where there is a huge Primark in which I take the opportunity to take some thoughts) and from there we walk down to Covent Garden, which I personally had never visited.
Here we find some particular street artist who incites the crowd from the top of a very high unicycle, many stalls of more objects. or less sought after (like a gentleman who creates beautiful jewels from discarded cutlery) and small shops that develop alternately on the ground floor and first floor of small buildings.
One of these, which captivates me since the sign,? a wonderful store of atypical toys, such as kaleidoscopes, paper puppets, cardboard theatrical sets to be built in three dimensions. I would have bought everything, but I just take a few photos and ask for a business card.

When it is past 17 pm we return to the hotel to wash and get ready. At 18 pm, after taking the DLR, we are in Canary Whorf with two Italian friends, who have moved permanently to London.
They take us to see the festival of lights (Winter Lights), which consists of more light installations. and less spectacular around the corners and squares of Canary Whorf.
Unfortunately people? a lot and we manage to enjoy little. We opt to go to their house to cook a good pasta carbonara.
We were supposed to go to Greenwich after dinner, but too much talk kept us all at home. Around midnight then we take a bus (one of the classic red double-decker buses) that takes us directly to the hotel, allowing us to comfortably enjoy the view and the lights of the city in the meantime.

3 day

Sunday 19.01.2019th of
Last day. Even today we get up early enough, around 8, co? to have time to prepare our luggage too.
We repeat breakfast as the day before, always surrounded by brave foreign tourists who can eat a mountain of salty food in the morning.
We were supposed to leave the hotel by 12 noon. once you have checked that you have not left anything in the room, we ask the receptionists to leave your luggage for a little while longer. They let us leave them for free in a special room, where the luggage is stored and guarded until midnight on the day of storage. In this way we leave the hotel without excessive weight and head to Brick Lane, a street that a friend recommended us to visit.
Doing some research before departure, I read that on Sundays in this area there are many markets, mostly? vintage and craftsmanship.
In fact, when we begin to get closer to the goal, many entrances to small second-hand markets or with stalls of small producers of objects begin to appear on the side of the road.
Wandering among the desks, I fell in love with a hundred items: old typewriters, paintings with the best Snoopy cartoons, decorated ceramic knobs, very special paintings. I can hardly hold back from leaving there? all the remaining pounds, and I only buy a small silver index ring, handcrafted by a girl of Japanese descent. Dario, on the other hand, finds a stall inside a market (owned by an Italian boy!) Who sells products for beard care and buys a small comb for his mustache.

For lunch we reunite with our Italian friends, Simone and Valeria, and we go together to eat in a new place for them too: Flat Iron, very close to Brick Lane. This easy-going eatery serves beef steaks cooked to taste with a side dish to taste. Not C?? a lot of choice, but the dish? great, cos? how the relationship quality? / price by London standards (steak with salad: 12 ?. With added potatoes: 15?).

Now we set off towards Liverpool Street station, where we take the bus to the airport (we are informed that the train was not in service that Sunday, but that with the same ticket we would have found a replacement bus at Platform 10). In less than 1 hour we are in Stansted, where we say goodbye to London and England, even if for a while: Dario is already? planning the next trip!

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